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Now That's Low Cost Entertainment

-- 2011-02-28 3:02 am --

Frugal living does not have to mean living without enjoyment. Entertainment is important to release tension and stress, and to remain close to those you love. Whether you are trying to spend some fun time with the kids, host a pleasant visit with extended family, neighbors and friends, or share a private night with the one you love, there are many options to plan an unforgettable get-together without breaking the bank.

At Home with the Kids
Fast-paced lifestyles and technological advances have left many families feeling detached. The kids are in their rooms playing computer games or texting their friends while Mom and Dad are in the living room, often doing the same. Scheduling family night at least once a week helps to solidify relationships and bring family values back to the table.

Turn in the computer games for a great board game. Although high-tech games can be a fun diversion, losing the graphics and sound effects will allow more interaction between family members. There is a wide array of fun board games on the market today, many costing under $20, or you can find printable games at www.family-games-treasurehouse.com/printable_board_games.html. Charades or card games should not be overlooked, either. The only reason they have been around so long is because they still prove entertaining and fun.

Bring on the Neighbors, Friends and Family
Spending time with friends and extended family members is a great way to bring back the feeling of community. If you live in a rural neighborhood, an old-fashioned block party can be fun. Check with the town to see about obtaining a gathering permit, and inquire about blocking off the street for an afternoon. Have neighbors make their favorite dishes, especially those that are specific to their cultural heritage, provide music and games for the children, and spend some time getting reacquainted with your neighbors.

Another fun way to visit with extended family and friends is to have a backyard cookout in the summer, or a progressive dinner in the colder months. When hosting a cookout, provide activities such as horseshoes, Frisbee, water balloon tosses and sack races to keep everyone entertained and make the day memorable. Progressive dinners do just that-they progress from one home to another. They allow people the chance to visit each home while spreading the cost of the meal among several household budgets. Carpooling with fellow progressive diners will save on gas and let you spend more time with loved ones. For more information and tips on how to organize a progressive dinner, visit http://www.essortment.com/planning-progressive-dinner-41365.html.

Romance the Frugal Way
Spending time alone with that special person can be quite costly. However, with a little planning and ingenuity, romance does not have to break the bank.

Send your sweetheart a formal invitation for a romantic evening. Use paper, not electronic media, for a more personal touch, and employ fancy fonts, hearts and flowers to set the mood. If you can cook, prepare a meal of your sweetie’s favorite foods. If cooking is beyond your skill set, order food from his or her favorite restaurant. By eating in instead of dining out, you will save tip and beverage expenses, and are able to provide a more romantic, personalized setting. Get out the fancy tablecloth, pick up a single rose in a bud vase, get out the candlesticks, and play soft music in the background. Lay a trail of rose petals from the door to the table for an extra special touch.

Looking for something a little less fancy? Discount movie theaters are popping up in many areas that show major motion films just before they leave the cinema and become available on DVD. The prices can be as low as 40% of what other theaters are charging, so as long as you can wait for the new release to reach these venues, it can be a great way to spend a night while saving a buck.

If you have any useful, low-cost entertainment ideas, please share them below.